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The Humility of the Wise
Texts: Proverbs 30; Luke 19:9–14; Job 38–40:2; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 3:14–18; Psalm 104:24
March 21, 2015

“There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky…” (Proverbs 30:18, 19, NLT).

Many Americans get excited when they spot a bald eagle. There is something powerful in this massive bird that became a symbol of the United States in 1782. Perhaps it’s the enormous seven-foot wingspread of this scavenger. Maybe it comes from its stunning looks. This eagle is not actually bald, but simply has a white heat that stands out.

The bald eagle builds the largest nest of any other bird in North America, up to 13 feet deep and 8 feet wide. Some nests weigh over a ton! The bird is monogamous and has only one mate for life. The female typically lays one to three eggs and will incubate the eggs for 34 to 36 days. At one time this bird, found only in North America, almost became extinct from hunting and pesticides. Today there are more than 10,000 bald eagles.1

The bald eagle is known to be a powerful flier. It soars on thermal convection currents and will choose migration routes to take advantage of these updrafts. They migrate during the day, usually between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. when the sun creates warm air. The eagle glides between 35 and 43 mph but can dive at speeds between 75 and 100 mph.

In this week’s Sabbath school lesson we study the wisdom of Agur. In the verse above he speaks of his amazement at how eagles soar in the sky. The strength in their wings is fascinating. Bald eagles can fly gripping a fish equal to their own weight. They have extremely powerful talons that are ten times greater in pounds per square inch than that of a human. Someone once recorded an eagle flying with a 15-pound Mule Deer fawn.

As we’ve considered the wisdom of Proverbs this quarter, the flight of an eagle soaring in thermal updrafts is a fitting illustration of our lesson for this week. Just as the warms winds lift the eagle high into the sky, so are we lifted by the wind of the Holy Spirit to greater heights. It is not from a power within ourselves that we can soar close to heaven. In humility, we stretch out wings of faith and trust in the strength of God.

Some religions teach that high-soaring eagles may touch the face of God. It is certainly an idea that reminds us that in humble faith we may be lifted up closer to the divine.

~ cr

1. livescience.com

Stunning video of bald eagle catching salmon: youtube.com